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I had someone use my email address and sign up on a State Government website and register as me. Made a complaint and the autoresponder of the .gov site replied to the email that I allegedly sent. When I saw it I replied that I did not send this and I did not live in this county. Can the State government website go into the registration and find that persons IP address who sent it? Thankfully this person did not threaten this person on their website. But who knows what they can and will do with it again. I am a Realtor and I have contacted Realtor.com and filed a complaint, as well as wrote the Senator back that I had not sent that email to him. I live in a different City and County in that same state.
My question is, can the state government find that person's IP address who registered as me? Thank you.

  • Why do you need to know the IP? – schroeder Mar 19 '15 at 19:27
  • @schroeder If there is a pattern of repeated abuse, it may be quite useful to know the IP. There is really no reason for the site to hide it. I would even consider it a good practice to include it in the automated mail, such that the receiver don't have to ask for it. – kasperd May 17 '15 at 14:48
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Yes, it is possible that the IP that was used to navigate to the contact form was logged. The problem is that knowing the IP isn't going to do much. IP addresses can change every time you connect to the Internet (from your phone, from free wifi, from your home, and sometimes even when you connect again from the same source).

I think you are trying to prepare for a problem that doesn't exist. Anyone can use your email address on contact forms, or even mistype their own valid email address. I know that I get a lot of emails from contact forms when people with email addresses similar to my own make an error.

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As with schroeder's answer, most network administrators can see what IP address was offered as the source but it's probably not useful alone. IP addresses are often just a drop in the ocean of information necessary to approach the real source. There's a lot of discovery and coordination involved, without even starting on intent and temporal facts. Additionally, filing a complaint can block the wrong target for reasons that weren't caused by them at all or even proportional (it could even be accidental, as schroeder mentions).

The ease with which an email address can be misused, and the difficulty (and resources) required to pinpoint misuse is why registration sites send confirmation emails. Address misuse is so prevalent and can occupy so much time (for you, administrators and computers), that most confirmations include "...and if you didn't initiate this action, you don't need to respond, it will automatically cancel". That in fact is best practice with spam too: don't confirm or respond to the sender. You'll just get more.

Adding a little to shroeder's answer, you'd have many options if problems continued (like consider changing your email address, or document that it's interfering with business) but that's more serious and not what's apparent in the question; from what you've described it looks like you've done enough.

  • Indeed. Seeing that "website" (so TCP handshake) was in the question, that should be clarified/struck. Thanks for the catch. – ǝɲǝɲbρɯͽ Mar 20 '15 at 0:07
  • @schroeder struck for the spirit of the question. Your comment got me thinking about covert communication though...(thanks again!) – ǝɲǝɲbρɯͽ Mar 20 '15 at 0:34

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